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The Pop Culture
Music, film and literature debate
(Music) A Young Person's Guide New Wave 
16th-Apr-2007 08:22 pm
tony woke up
Due to the popularity of the Britpop guide, here is my definitive guide to the genre that punk created. Enjoy.

The Criteria

New Wave music for the lay person is effectively what happened after punk. The definition of which can vary from the new romantics to the likes of Adam and the Ants. The origins of New Wave are not necessarily found in punk music (many of the acts here were either conceived before or during the punk scene) but, for the purpose of this guide, the songs here tend to have punk simplicity, separating production of individual instruments and a quirky singing style. Or they may simply be a more melodic, less sneary version of their punk cousins.

Public Image Ltd - Public Image.
Where better to start than with John Lydon to send us on our journey of New Wave? This is a good example of the genre in a nutshell - the jangly guitars, punk musicianship and 80s decadence. Nice.


Elvis Costello and the Attractions - (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea
Quirky keyboards, cutting lyrics and a man who looks like the love child of Buddy Holly and Bono. Job done.


Television - Marquee Moon
Not only one of the finest of all of the new wave bands but one of the greatest users of two rhythm guitars ever. Any comparisons with The Strokes will be dealt with harshly.


King Crimson - Elephant Talk
Okay, so they're a prog-rock band, but just listen to it. And that's Adrian Belew! He used to be in Talking Heads you know...


XTC - Making Plans For Nigel
This is technically punk (signed to Virgin as a countermeasure for the unpredictable Sex Pistols) although listening to the production and offset rhythms suggests that this is either New Wave or way ahead of its time.


The Smiths - This Charming Men
Before fleshing out their sound and crafting music that was unique, The Smiths were a new wave act, albeit one that was influenced by the more decadent acts of the early 70s rather than the stalwarts of punk. This gem from 1983 encapsulates this perfectly.


Ian Dury and the Blockheads - Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
Where would this list be without the late Ian Dury? Juxtaposing rough and raw vocals with the finest house band in the land was a good idea, methinks.


The Jam - A Town Called Malice
Yes, they were ensconced in the London punk scene, but adding the 60s Fender Bass riff and keyboard made this one of the new wave's ballsiest anthems.

Tom Robinson - 2 4 6 8 Motorway
Again, this is more punky than you might expect, but the strong melody of the whole song lifts into into new wave territory. Also, no punk would have ever released a song called Glad To Be Gay.


Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime
How can this be ommited from the list?! Perfect song, perfect video, perfect end to this list.
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